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I Have 2 Kids, I’m Separated, and I Make $83k/year

How a Professor from Columbus Spends Her Money: YNAB Money Snapshots

Welcome to YNAB Money Snapshots—where you see a real picture of someone else’s budget and finances. They’re all anonymous, because sharing money is still a squirrelly topic for many, but we think airing them out in the open makes you better with your own money story. 

As you read these budgets, keep in mind that some people make lots of money and some people make a little bit of money, but we know it’s what you do with that money and how you feel about that money means more than any yearly salary. 

See how a professor in Columbus, Ohio making $83,000 a year spent her money in April (all currencies listed are in USD).


  • Name: Professor B
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Columbus, Ohio
  • Job: Professor
  • Living situation: I have two kids, ages 7 and 13, and I'm separated from my husband. I'm financially responsible for both kids and the family home.

Income: $83,000/year

It's been very up and down, but my current monthly take-home pay is around $4,600/month.

Savings: $153,873

  • Savings: $5,000
  • Educational savings account: $3,873 (just started in December)
  • Retirement account: $145,000 (but ugh, I've been trying to ignore it lately)

Debt: $181,170

  • Car loan: $1,170
  • Mortgage: $180,000

April Inflows: $7,671

  • Guest lecture reimbursement and honorarium: $775
  • IRS Stimulus check: $2,200
  • Payroll: $4,697
  • Ex-husband insurance: $19
  • Reconciliation balance adjustment: -$20

My April Spending: $4,545

My Savings Categories

Right now my top savings goals are:

  1. Emergency fund
  2. Kids' education fund (newly established)
  3. Money to formalize our divorce (this got moved around a bit due to some unexpected home repairs last year)

I also have funding categories for things like home expenses, summer camp (probably won't be needing that this year), vacation (ditto), Christmas/holidays, and professional expenses. Those tend to be the biggies.

My Month

Last month was not normal at all. I got a reimbursement I'd been waiting on, a fat tax refund, and a federal stimulus check.

With that money, I beefed up my emergency fund, paid off a credit card, and paid down part of my car loan (boring, but necessary). Like many people, I spent less on going out, but more on groceries and home entertainment. I also shifted some of my money over to donate to local food banks.

My Story

I took a sabbatical a year and a half ago and started using YNAB as I was preparing to handle the significant pay cut (about 37%).

My husband and I had separated the year before and I'd weathered the 30% reduction in household income. I knew I couldn't keep spending like I used to: where I would hope for the best and cycle in and out of debt.

Using YNAB has really helped me to understand where my money is going. I wasn't budgeting nearly enough for my 100-year-old home, which requires a small fortune in upkeep, or for professional expenses, which regularly have me spending up to five figures out-of-pocket and are seldom fully reimbursed.

Recognizing the reality of those outflows helped me create a more stable budget and living situation. I'm just now getting to the point where everything that I need is in the budget, and I can use windfalls as they're meant to be used: as extra rather than as something that I count on to pay off my credit card.

My independence means the world to me, and it's incredibly gratifying to know that even as a single mom, I can support myself and my kids. Now that my sabbatical is over, I'm back to my full salary. It feels like an incredible luxury since I was getting by on so much less last year!

My Financial Goals

  • Long-term, I'd like to be in a position to retire by the time I'm 55 (though who knows if that will happen with the current economic situation!).
  • I'd like to help my kids get through college debt-free.
  • Eventually, I'd like to pay off my house.

I want to do all this while living a full life and giving myself and my kids the opportunities that we all enjoy. Yes, I can take that pricey yoga workshop! Yes to braces! Yes to the water park once it opens again! Yes to birthday parties and the elaborate Christmas that everyone else in my family is so attached to!

I would rate my current financial situation: 4/5

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I Have 2 Kids, I’m Separated, and I Make $83k/year